The Language of the Khutbah

2482028541_6e5f52f5aa_bOriginally published in January 2010

By the Grace of Allah, we have a beautiful tradition of law filled with rich wisdom that balances between a deep understanding of our scripture and the reality of those to whom it is applied. Consequentially, our scholars have dealt with the modern world by developing two new applications of fiqh. One is referred to as Fiqh al-Nawazil which means the ‘Islamic Jurisprudence of New Realities’ (not present when the schools of jurisprudence were formed) and a subdivision of this is Fiqh al-Aqalliyyaat which is ‘Islamic Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities’ living in non-Muslim lands. The famous axiom which led to the formation of these modern applications of the principles and objectives of our sacred texts is “The legal ruling on a given matter may change according to different eras, places, or circumstances.” This axiom is held by the vast majority of scholars from the four schools of Islamic Jurisprudence. To my knowledge there is no exception, but I was taught to be cautious about claiming it a consensus.

One of the new realities we face is that the vast majority of Muslims don’t speak Arabic. Similarly many Muslims live in communities where Arabic is not a spoken language and it would be unrealistic to expect the vast majority of them to learn it.

Regarding the language of the Friday Sermon (khutbah) given to majority non-Arab audiences, there has arisen two schools of thought amongst our scholars today.  The majority opinion is that the khutbah may be a mixture of both Arabic and the local language. Even some notable scholars of today hold the opinion that there is no clear requirement for any of the Khutbah to be in Arabic except verses of the Qur’an when it is delivered to a majority non-Arab audience.  The other opinion is that the khutbah is not acceptable unless it is all in Arabic.

More often than not, the literalist school of thought, which tends to issue opinions from centuries old fiqh books, doesn’t benefit these new realities. In dealing with the fiqh of new realities, our scholars and the collective councils often look at what is in the best interest (maslahah) of Islam and Muslims in the new realities they face. When there are texts which relate to an issue, they try and derive the reasoning (‘illah) behind the text in order to form an opinion which is more practical and facilitating. If there is no text prohibiting something then once again they look at the general objectives of Islam and if it fits with those objectives of our Divine law, then they will encourage it.

When dealing with this subject, I thought it to be highly relevant to mention the positions of world fiqh councils and comprehensive works rather than just stating the proofs behind it. This is because the followers of the minority opinion purport that theirs is the undoubtedly correct and majority opinion (it has even been said that there is a consensus for their opinion). With all due respect to them, in my opinion, this is due to the reclusiveness of their group which stems from an extreme form of blind following (taqleed) of their scholars.

Let’s start in the Islamic Encyclopedia formed in Kuwait. This research is the largest comparative fiqh work known to the recorded history of Islam. The idea came collectively from representative scholars of many Muslim countries in world fiqh conferences in the 1950’s. It was started in Egypt and then shifted to the ministry of endowments and religious affairs of Kuwait in the late 60’s. In Kuwait, many scholars from different countries like Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Kuwait based in all four legal schools (madhabs) began researching for the project. It was recently finished at 45 volumes and is being spread across the Muslim world as a primary encyclopedic reference for Islamic Law. The current expert supervisor of the encyclopedia is a Hanafi scholar from Aleppo (Halab), Syria named Dr. Ahmad al-Hajji al-Kurdi who is also on Kuwait’s national committee for issuing religious edicts (iftaa). Aleppo is a stronghold of the Hanafi madhab in Syria with a population of over 5 million and thousands of Hanafi scholars. Shaikh Ahmad and his family are well-known among them. 1

In the 19th volume on page 177 it describes the pillars of the Khutbah according to the different madhabs, “According to Abu Hanifa it is simply to say alhamdulillah, subhan’Allah or la ilaaha illa Allah. Abu Yusuf and Muhammad added that there should be a longer portion which customarily can be called a khutbah. The Malikis said that however small it may be that anything can be called a khutbah according to Arabs. The Shafi’i school says that it is 5 things: alhamdulillah, salat upon the Prophet, admonishment to taqwa, praying for the Muslims, and at least a clear part of a verse of the Qur’an. That being said, on page 180 it says under the 6th condition for the soundness of the khutbah, “To be in Arabic. What is meant by this is that its pillars are said in Arabic. This is because they are the obligatory pillars so it is a condition that they must be in Arabic even if the audience doesn’t speak Arabic. This is the majority opinion (Maliki, some Shafi’i and most Hanabilah).” So what’s being said according to these schools of thought here is that the pillars of the khutbah must be in Arabic since that is what is obligatory for the khutbah to be sound and anything added to that whether in Arabic or otherwise will not harm it’s soundness. The only exception is that most Malikis did hold the opinion that the khutbah can only be delivered in Arabic. This is since they held that the khutbah is part of the salah taking the place of the first two rakah’s of Dhuhr prayer and in their school the whole prayer must be in Arabic.

Continuing on page 180 of the 19th volume, “And Abu Hanifa said – and this is the established opinion of the Hanafi school of thought – the khutbah is sound even if the whole thing is in a language other than Arabic regardless if the khateeb knows Arabic or not. Although Abu Yusuf and Muhammad agreed with the majority opinion except if the khateeb isn’t able to deliver it in Arabic.”

To further clarify this point, we find in the 27th volume on page 201 under the heading conditions for a sound Khutbah, “It must precede the Salah, it must be a reminder that people customarily consider a sermon. So whenever the Imam fulfilled these two conditions after the time of Dhuhr has begun, then he has surely performed a sound Khutbah regardless if he was standing or sitting, he did one Khutbah or two,  he read Qur’an or not, it was in Arabic or another language…This is the Hanafi opinion.” For this they cited three of the most comprehensive and representative Hanafi fiqh books which all Hanafis refer to in proving what their school says on a given issue. They are Bada’I al-Sana’I 1/262, Hashiyyat ibn ‘Abideen 1/567 and Majma’ al-Anhaar 1/163. 2

Confirming this is a prominent Syrian scholar, Wahbah Zuhayli who is the head of the comparative Fiqh Department in the faculty of Shari`ah in the University of Damascus and also a senior member and advisor of juristic councils in Jeddah, Makkah, India, America and Sudan. In his eleven volume comparative fiqh masterpiece called Islamic law and its proofs, he notes in the second volume on the bottom of page 1304 about the conditions for a valid Friday Sermon according to the Hanafis: “They permitted the sermon to be in other than Arabic even if the khateeb is able to do it in Arabic and regardless if the people were majority non-Arabs.”3 It’s interesting to note that those who are strictest about the obligation of the khutbah being in Arabic consider themselves to be following the Hanafi madhab.

Now some detractors of these proofs might unwisely pass judgment in their bias and say that the scholars who wrote this either do not know what they’re talking about or that they are modernized liberal scholars who are approving an innovation.

Let’s look at the opinions of some of the strictest of scholars in following the Prophet ﷺ – or what some call Salafi or Wahhabi. According to the previous Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abdul Azeez ibn Baz, “If most of the audience of the Khutbah doesn’t understand Arabic then there is nothing wrong with delivering it in their language …” Later in the same Fatwa he notes that he issued this edict with full knowledge that “it is known that the early generations would deliver khutbahs in Arabic to crowds with new non-Arab Muslims and it was not reported that they would translate the khutbah or deliver it in the local language. This was because in those days the honor and glory was with the Muslims who were, in that case, the ruling authority and their language was Arabic.” He then states that what leads him to make this fatwa is that Allah said, ‘We have not sent any messenger except that he preached in the language of his people in order to clarify to them.’ (Qur’an, 14:4)”4 I think it’s commendable to note Bin Baz’s understanding of the fiqh of Muslim minorities in what is underlined in his fatwa.

According to another Saudi scholar, the renowned Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaymeen, who is known for his strictness in matters of `aqeedah and a literalist following of the Prophet ﷺ and his companions (may Allah have mercy on them), “The correct opinion in this matter is that it is permissible for the khateeb to deliver the khutbah in the language that the audience is accustomed to…This is because the khutbah was intended to be a means of clarifying the religion and guiding the people.  The only exception is that the verses of the Qur’an must be recited in Arabic and then translated. Verse 4 of surah Ibrahim indicates the permissibility of delivering the sermon in the local language, ‘We have not sent any messenger except that he preached in the language of his people in order to clarify to them.’5

According to the official decision of the Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League, of which Mufti Taqi Usmani and many other of the greatest scholars representing the Muslim World are esteemed members, “The better opinion is that delivering Khutbatul-Jumu’ah in Arabic is not a condition for its validity. The best thing is to deliver the introduction and the Qur’anic verses in Arabic (the pillars). This is so that non-Arabs will get used to hearing Arabic and so it will make it is easy to learn (since it is the language of our holy scripture). Then the khateeb follows that with an admonishment in the language of the audience. Then Iqamatus-Salah.”6

According to the standing committee for issuing edicts in Saudi Arabia, the members of which are some of the most revered Saudi scholars, “There is no hadith which indicates that delivering the khutbah in Arabic is a condition for its validity. Indeed the Prophet ﷺ used to speak Arabic in the khutbah and at all other times simply because that was his language and the language of his people…”7

I will limit the list of scholarly bodies and their members who hold this view to what has been mentioned for the sake of brevity.

The following are some responses to the opinion that the Khutbah must be in Arabic. First they say that since the Prophet ﷺ and his companions never did it, therefore it must be wrong. I encourage them to read this research. This research proves that the lack of action on the part of the Prophet ﷺ and the early generations is not a proof in itself. We should also review the abovementioned point made by the standing committee for issuing fatwas in Saudi Arabia.

The next argument they make is that the khutbah is like reading Qur’an and prayer which must be said in Arabic. Therefore it is not acceptable to be in any other language. They add to this, if we allow the khutbah to be in other than Arabic then that will open the door to the adhan and prayer being reduced to translations. The response is that, first of all, the scholars are not in agreement that the khutbah takes the place of the first two raka`ahs of Dhuhr prayer. Clearly the Hanafis are not of this opinion because they only hold that delivering one khutbah without sitting is sufficient, thus the absence of the two khutbahs representing the first two raka’ahs of Dhuhr. The Malikis are reported to have this opinion as mentioned before. The response to them is that `Eid prayer comes before the Khutbah and it doesn’t replace Dhuhr, yet it was still the practice of the Prophet to make two sermons and Allah knows best as to why since he never said why. Also in response to the idea that the two sermons are exactly like the first two raka’ahs of prayer is the fact that the Prophet ﷺ would not recite a surah after al-Fatihah in the last two rak’ahs of Dhuhr, yet in Jumu’ah salah which is supposed to replace the final two rak’ahs of Dhuhr he always recited another surah after al-Fatihah. Finally this is an assumption based upon ijtihad not similar to the famous Hadith about Tawaf (circling the Ka’bah) which says that it is like prayer except that talking aloud is permissible.

Finally, it cannot be said that the khutbah is similar to the Qur’an since the Qur’an is the word of Allah and the khutbah is the words of a person. It also cannot be said that the khutbah is like the adhan and prayer since the statements of the adhan and prayer are according to authentically transmitted statements of the Prophet ﷺ who said “Pray as you have seen me praying.” On the other hand, the khutbah is simply the words made up by the khateeb. So whether he made the sermon in Arabic or another language they have no holy textual value like the Qur’an, adhan, or salah as they are the khateeb’s own invention. So no scholarly analogy can be used between the permissibility of giving the khutbah in a local language and translating the adhan.

With all due respect to our beloved scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani, his colleagues and followers, I believe this to be an issue that Muslims need to be on the same page on. It has created fitnah between Imams, community leaders, and their communities. As we have seen, according to the vast majority of today’s esteemed scholars around the world, including Mufti Usmani’s colleagues in the Muslim World league, it is the more balanced and practical opinion to allow the khateeb to deliver the general admonishment of the khutbah in the local language.

Without a doubt it is a priority that local scholars should represent the Muslims in their locality by forming a consultative (shurah) council. There is nothing wrong with individually following a scholar or madhab in matters pertaining to your own worship. In order to avoid fitnah and for Muslims to build upon unity, they should follow scholarly councils in major issues which effect Muslims collectively. This way the scholars can discuss amongst themselves the issues facing Muslims and come to an opinion which is in their best interests. That is what was done in the Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League as mentioned earlier. This is the opinion of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, which is a host of notable PhD level scholars who reside or convene in America yearly to discuss issues relating to Muslims in America.

In its Sixth conference held on the 31st of October 2009 the sixth collective decision in matters of worship was “The original ruling is that the khutbah is in Arabic. If the khateeb wasn’t able to or the audience doesn’t understand Arabic then the khutbah can be delivered in the language the audience understands. That being said, the pillars of the khutbah, the verses of the Qur’an, and the Hadiths should all be in Arabic.”

I hope everyone understands here that I am not attempting to refute Mufti Usmani’s opinion. I am simply passing on the opinion of his peers in this matter in clarifying the majority opinion as well as an attempt to unite the Muslims upon it. The purpose of this research was to make a case for four main issues which are of more benefit (maslahah) to Muslims in the West than the old opinion. They are: to clarify that this is the position of the majority today’s scholars and councils, to make it obligatory upon the non-Arab Muslims to attend a khutbah that they may benefit from, to promote non-Arab spiritual development by not Arabizing matters which aren’t tawqeefi such as general supplication (du`a’) and the khutbah and to make it clear to non-Muslims and new Muslims that our religion is not an emphatically Arabic religion, but a universal religion.

And Allah knows best!

Further References:

  1. For more information, click here.
  2. For more information, click here.
  3. He cites the books Fath al-Qadeer ma’l-‘Inayyah vol. 1 313-315, Al-Darr al-Mukhtar vol. 1 pg. 757-760, Muraaqee al-Falah pg. 87, Badaa’i al-Sanaa’I Vol. 1 pg. 262, Tabyeen al-Haqaa’iq vol. 1 pg. 219+.
  4. Bin Baz’s collection of Fatwa’s vol. 12 #372.
  5. Fatawa Nurun alal-darb ch. Salah al-Jumu’ah.
  6. Page 99, the fifth resolution of the fifth session.
  7. The edicts of the standing committee, vol. 8 page 253.
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  1. Imran Khan says:

    Assalamu’ Alaykum,

    Can you please cite the source where Mufti Taqi has stated his position regarding Arabic being a condition for Friday’s sermon? If it is true, it is certainly at odds with what he’s stated in the book ‘fiqhi maqalat’ where he’s allowed it to be in another language. Jazak Allah.

  2. Ahmad says:

    Many mosques have now began to do both English and Arabic, for the sake of keeping both parties happy. It makes sense and works.

    • Mohamed says:

      Yes..even Arabic has different forms of it does make sense to switch from classic arabic to south tunisian make south tunisians understand for example..IT IS ALL ABOUT UNDERSTANDING!

  3. Iman says:

    I have a problem with the assertion that everyone needs to be on the same page in regards to this issue. This statement is indicative of a lack of understanding of the complexity and diversity of Fiqh. This type of an approach is what typically undermines the science of Fiqh and legacy of Fuqaha.

    Secondly, while I wholeheartedly agree that local scholars should represent the interest of Muslims in that locality, I’m not sure that AMJA as reputable and knowledgeable as they are, truly represent the American dynamic. No doubt they are major scholars who have PhD’s, but the majority of them are not indigenous and I highly doubt that they really understand the Muslim American experience.

    My apologies if I have offended anyone particularly the author. May Allah reward you for your efforts.

    • Abu Majeed says:

      As-Salamu alaikum Iman,

      You are free to your objection. I had no problem with this myself until I came into a community which has a prevelance of those who hold the opinion. I had previously prayed at Mosques in Oklahoma, Michigan, and even Kuwait, where the khutbah is done by the majority opinion mixed between Arabic and English. Then I came -as an Imam- to south Florida and I began giving the khutbah in the way I am accustomed to and feel is in accordance with the texts and majority of scholars. I was labeled a modernist who follows the west and going against the correct opinion etc…

      Since then I have come to realize that really there is only one scholarly institution that holds this opinion. They are from India and they are called the Deoband. Many know of their followers as Tableeghi. This group has an authoritative role over most fo the mosques in India, Pakistan, England and South Africa. Now this group has highly qualified scholarly leadership and the Tabligh has done a lot of good in bringing Muslims back to the Deen, but some of their strict opinions are highly influenced by the previous British occupation and influence onIndia. Now at that time and in those circumstances I commend and would probably teach the same as them, but many years later they have dragged these opinions around to different parts of the world and under diffferent circumstances and enforced them with the same zeal and concern.

      Its similar to my objection to those who follow Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab in Saudi Arabia and they import his ideas that were dealing with some of the most heretical deviated Sufi’s sects of his time. His students and followers have since carrried that same – undersandable- strictness and zeal against anyone who disagrees with them in any minor issue of deen . Thus they have condemned much of Ahle Sunnha today including all Sufis and that just isn’t rigth much less is it a proper representation of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhabs stance.

      Regarding AMJA, I know personally as two of those scholars were my teachers and they have lived here for at least 15 years. The core of that body articulate to their peers who aren’t so well based here the realities that Muslim Americans face in order to discuss them according to fiqh Al-Aqalliyat and issue proper rulings. Salah Sawi is well known as the founder of the most successful online Islamic university in America.
      They are of the highest caliber respecting over seas and here. I have noticed some changes in their fatwas since I’ve been here and I believe it to be rooted in an understanding that you can’t import Ijtihadat that are suitable for Muslims in thier lands and force them on a whole different reality you have to look into the texts, thier principles and objectives inorder to facilitate the masses.

  4. Yus from the Nati says:


    Which areas is this issue predominate? I’m assuming Ahnaf-immigrant dominated areas? I’m asking because I’ve never experienced that giving a khutbah in English an issue? Interesting.

    • Abu Majeed says:

      This opinion is found in most Mosques in India, Pakistan, Bangledash, Afghanistan, South Africa, and England.

      • Haroon says:


        I am a resident of India and have lived in both Shafi dominated south and Hanafi dominated north (currently in bangalore). I have also spent some time in UK

        The Shafis here consider the Khutbah to be equivalent to the two rakahs of dhuhr and hence do it only in Arabic. Week on week people go into jumuah and there is hardly any perceptible development of the muslims because of the lack of understanding.

        In bangalore the deobandi imams have long since worked out a formula to overcome this issue. They tend to give a half hour speech in the local language after dhuhrs time has started. Following this speech the imam will deliver the 2 arabic khutbahs with the khutbatul haajath and the verses and hadith used in the speech followed by prayers.

        I have found masjids now that have begun delivering the khutbah itself in the local language and they tend to be salafi.

        Wallahu A’lam

    • Holly Garza says:

      Sadly EVERYTHING has become an issue these days! :/

  5. Faqir says:

    On a side note, the masjid i go to has a nice talk that starts at 1, with the adhan at 1:30, followed by the arabic khutbah. works out perfect for everyone :)

    • Abu Majeed says:

      Brother Faqir As-Salamu alaikum,

      That sounds good for you and your community, but in researching this issue I found multitudes of people who have immigrated and locals who have followed this style and they say that many people don’t come to the English part because it is not considered part of the khutbah and thus like any lecture in the Mosque it isn’t an obligation. The opinion I’m promoting solves that problem.

  6. Faqir says:

    So if the khutbah is part of the jumah prayer, then shouldnt it stay in Arabic? Why cant there be a short talk before the actual khutbah itself? Jazakallah for your opinion

  7. Furhan says:

    As salam u alaikum wa rhamatullah,

    “With all due respect to our beloved scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani, his colleagues and followers, I believe this to be an issue that Muslims need to be on the same page on. It has created fitnah between Imams, community leaders, and their communities.”

    I know a number of scholars/khateebs who hold the opinion that the khutba must be in Arabic. However, I have never seen or heard of it being a cause of fitnah between Imams and their community leaders. If fitnah has arisen because of this issue then it is not due to the difference in opinion itself, but because of a lack of understanding or ignorance. It is well known that differences in opinion regarding issues of ijtihad are acceptable. As some scholars wrote, “In issues of ijtihad, it is not for one to force others to follow his opinion in them; rather he should speak about them with scholarly evidences. If one opinion appears correct to him he should follow it, and whoever follows the other opinion then there is no blame on him.”
    I take issue with your claim that this is an issue that Muslims need to be on the same page on. The same can then be said about all the other issues of ijtihad in which there are differences of opinion (taraweeh 8 or 20, moon sighting, the beard, etc.). Instead of trying to get everybody on the same page, we should understand each others differences and where they arise from by looking at the detailed evidences.
    I also take issue with your premise that the literalist school of thought that tends to issue fatwas from centuries old fiqh books doesn’t benefit the new realities we face today. Recognizing that the vast majority of Muslims don’t speak Arabic the majority of scholars who hold the opinion that the khutba must be in Arabic generally deliver a talk in the local language before the khutba so that everyone can benefit.

    • Abu Majeed says:

      As-Salamu alaikum Furhan,

      I assume you are from England. This reality is because Englands Imams are almost all based from one small city called Deoband, India and the scholarly opinions coming out of it regardless of those to whom it is applied. They are very strict in their promotion of Taqleed (even among their scholars). If their scholars tried to make Ijtihad outside of the tradition they were taught to follow they would be highly rebuked and frowned upon.

      If in your area that is the majority opinion, then that is good for you. I guess I’m mostly talking about here in America where Deoband has little influence in most Mosques. so the vast majority of Mosques are doing an intro in Arabic and the Ayat and the rest in English. The problem is that when the Deobandis gain authority of a Mosque, they seek to change it; and if they founded the Mosque (rare) they don’t allow a visiting Khatib to do it in the prevalent way, and they try to convert other Mosques to their opinion. They do this on the premise that it is an opinion influenced by the West and even said to be an innovation. By the way i want to be crystal clear, I am not saying nor have I ever said that the Deobandi opinion is wrong or incorrect. I am saying that according to the vast majority of the scholars of the Muslim world, it is impractical and unbalanced in its application in the West and just want to keep it the way it is here in the States without any attacks and campaigns to change it.

      I highly encourage you to read the article again without bias.

      • Furhan says:

        As salam u alaikum Abu Majeed,

        As a matter of fact I’m not from England, I’ve only been there once in my life. I’m actually from Southern California, born and raised in the USA. The “reality” you mention that all Imams in England are based from one small town Deoband, India isn’t completely true. There are many institutions throughout the world including America, England, South Africa, Malaysia etc. that are Deobandi. So to say this opinion comes from one institution is incorrect. It can be said that Deobandi scholars are strict in their promotion of taqleed but to say that if their scholars try to make ijtihad outside the tradition they would be highly rebuked and frowned upon is completely wrong. I am a student at Dar ul Uloom Karachi, which is one of the leading Deobandi institutions of the world (also where Mufti Taqi Usmani teaches), and I find that all of our teachers have their own opinions regarding a host of different issues. Their promotion of taqleed should not be mistaken for narrowmindedness. Rather, as I have experienced myself they encourage the students to read and research all different types of opinions, whether within the hanafi madhab or outside of it.
        When discussing this issue, at a student teacher level, never once have I heard anyone saying that giving the khutba in a language other than Arabic is a result of modernization or an influence of the west.
        I do not live in an area where this is the majority opinion. However, I do attend a mosque where we have a different khateeb every week, and they are allowed to give the khutbah however they want even though the founders/management is deobandi.
        To say that it is impractical and unbalanced in its application in the west isn’t true for communitites. As I mentioned most of the Scholars who hold this opinion do give a talk in the local language.
        I did read your post without a bias, beacause I myself haven’t been completely convinced that the khutba has to be in Arabic. If the Deobandi opinion is not wrong or incorrect, and some people wish to follow it, then what is the issue?


        • abu majeed says:

          Wa alaikum as-salam,

          Forgive me when you said I know a host of scholars and khateebs who hold this opinion i assumed -forgive me for doing so- that those are locals because I know that most people here in the states don’t run into the deobandi position with regards to the khutbah because most Imams aren’t comvinced with that.

          I stated my four reasons for why it is an issue at the end of the article.

          I would like to commend you and your teachers for having a correct view of the tolerance of Ahle Sunnah. Maybe its just those who i met and heard about weren’t representative of Deoband with the tolerance aspect with those who run a few commnuities in south florida, some brothers I spoke to from England, some I met in Kuwait and others I spoke with who had the same problems as I in Chicago.

          I would like to know of some Deobandi scholars who hold the posiiton of the majority on this issue as well as one who will budge on the local moonsighting and women’s involvement in the Mosque and some other issues. you can get my e-mail from admin.

        • Haq says:

          As-salamu alykum br Furhan,
          I generally agree with your statement:
          “and I find that all of our teachers have their own opinions regarding a host of different issues”
          However, this is not instutionalised, and thus a free open academic environement does not exist in my opinion. I met several scholars from the said institution, who also do alot of Tahqiq, but nonetheless warn me to keep their said opinions a secret, since it went against the mainstream position.

          “Allah knows and you do not know”

        • Furhan says:

          As salam u alaikum,

          Admin, can you please send me Imam Abu Majeeds email address. May Allah (swt) reward all of you for your efforts.


  8. Asim says:

    In most Indo-pak masjids (esp those with a large and more ‘recent’ immigrant community),from what Ive experienced, an English khutbah is generally looked down upon.

  9. Jazak Allahu khair for the piece. What sense does it make to give the entire Khutbah in Arabic if most of the people you are speaking to doesnt understand what is being said? Isnt that the true objective? If you want people to hear and take heed to the admonition, why would one’s entire Khutbah be in a language they cant understand? How could one fault the beleivers for not changing for the better if they dont even understand what you are telling them?

  10. Iman says:

    I also wanted to add to my earlier comment by saying that there’s really nothing admirable about a community not having fitnah due to everyone having the same opinion, rather what is admirable is to avoid fitnah in spite of a diversity of viewpoints.

    Also in the last paragraph the author states that this serves the benefit of displaying that Islam is not an Arabic religion. I would argue that Islam is not an ARAB religion but it is a religion based on ARABIC.

    2 very different things. The greatest ideological corruption and deviance has occurred among the Muslims when they steered away from the Arabic language and understanding Islam by means of it.

    • abu majeed says:

      Dear sister as-salamu alaikum,

      If it wasn’t for Allah blessing me to study the Arabic language by spending almost 6 years engulfed in the Arab world then I wouldn’t have been able to make this research, 100% of which came from Arabic texts/sites. The point remains that it is our texts which are in Arabic and they should be studied only through it to achieve a correct understanding. That being said those of us who aren’t Arabs should be able to interact and express our spirituality in our own language. The khutbah itself, other than ayat and ahadeeth is the invention of the Khateeb. So whether he did it in Arabic, Chineese, or Russian it is his own words and not some holy text that must be preserved. Please look again wihtout bias at this quote from the Saudi standing committee for issuing fatwas and ponder-

      “There is no hadith which indicates that delivering the khutbah in Arabic is a condition for its validity. Indeed the Prophet ﷺ used to speak Arabic in the khutbah and at all other times simply because that was his language and the language of his people…”

    • R says:

      Re: point 2, you would have a point, but sadly this logic fails when the vast majority of Muslims of the world do not know Arabic. What is the point of having something in Arabic, when the audience does not understand. The purpose of a talk or khutbah then becomes useless and the congregation leaves with nothing learned.

      I sit in mosques (UK) and I understand the Arabic (learned abroad), but sadly most around me sit playing with their phones. I have been pushing my local Deobandi Mufti (who agrees with me) that there needs to be change across the mosques in the UK.

  11. As salaamu alaikum,

    I am American convert who happens to love the way deobandi’s read their short (which is sunnah) Arabic khutbahs. They are recited in very beautiful and spiritually uplifting way. To be honest, there many times I dread jummah– when I it turns into a 45 min. boring khutbah, and in the end it was just a fundraising scheme anyways.
    Also as a side note, the Somali masjid I like to go to for jummah, but often can’t because time restraints, gives khutabah’s just like deobandi’s. They give a talk in Somali or English first, then call the second athan and give a short, but beautifully recited, Arabic khutbah. They are staunch Shafi’s by the way, and not salafi Somalis.

    • abu majeed says:

      Wa alaikum as-Salam Zacharia,

      Welcome to Islam! More power to you bro. I agree that khateebs should not ramble about things which are redundant or not inspiring practical. I do though take the opportunity where Allah obliges Muslim men to listen to the Khutbah to make a 30 minute advice and try to make my khutbah as meaningful, practical and inspirational as possible. Then the soorah’s are recited for salah and are shorter than the Khutbah.

      So one of our detractors from the deobandi group added to what I mentioned in a previous comment that I’m not following the Sunnah because the khutbah is longer than the Prayer and the Prophet did and guided us to make the khutbah shorter.

      So I reminded them that when I was in Egypt and Kuwait, I noticed a couple noteworthy scholars with a PhD in Shari’ah doing that. They responded that times had changed and people don’t learn much these days and this might be the only chance to teach them whereas the Sahabah and the early generations were thirsty for knowledge and Mosques were filled for any lecture.

      When I told the brother this he hastily and unwisely said I don’t care what degree he has he is not following the Sunnah. Then I asked him so why do your scholars not only put a partition between men and women, they often completely separate them and often they Prohibit them from the Mosque which is against the Sunnah and command of the authentic Hadith????????

      The point here is that we need to stop judging others because of differences in opinion or worse because we read a Hadith. Let the scholars have disagreement and lets follow what we feel is right and respect everyone else’s opinion. If one becomes an established student of knowledge and feels that maybe one opinion is better than the other there is etiquette in doing so.

      We should never be so attached to our teachers that anytime we hear someone differ with them it becomes an us and them issue where we must defend and even attack. As Muslim we should be more attached to the Qur’and and Sunnah and listen to the scholars difference without sides but honestly neutrally trying to follow what we think is right.

      The last point is that of course if you have a Somali (generally Arab) Mosque where the majority of those there are Arab then it is most realistic that you give a proper Arab khutbah. This is the Shafii’ee and Hanbali madhab. The Hanafis- who I agree with- would say that if everyone speaks English and only some or even half speak Arabic then it is best to be in English.

      The thing that confuses me is in making it a condition that people who don’t know and 99% likely will not learn Arabic to listen to an Arabic khutbah while most scholars don’t see it as important.

      And Allah knows best

      • hellow0rld says:

        Assalamu alaykum Br. Abu Majeed,

        “Then I asked him so why do your scholars not only put a partition between men and women, they often completely separate them and often they Prohibit them from the Mosque which is against the Sunnah and command of the authentic Hadith????????”

        First of all, I agree with you that laymen should not criticize or dabble with scholarly issues. This is against the way of the salaf.
        However, I beg to differ with you on your claim that prohibiting women from the masjid is against the Sunnah. There exists a plethora of daleel indicating that, in general, women were prevented from going to the masjid beginning with the time of Umar (RA).

        I’m not saying that we apply this principle to our time and age, especially in the West. Indeed, the ulemaa’ here have given permission for women to enter the masjid to learn, since women (and also men, for that matter) don’t even know the faraa’idh of deen. What I’m saying that we should at least be familiarized with the dalaa’il of women being prohibited from entering the masjid. This is not some cultural bid’a practice, but something which the sahaaba (RA) did after the demise of Rasoolullah (SAW).

        For the aforementioned daleel, please consult a book called “Women in Musaajid and Islam” written by the Mujlisul Ulema of South Africa.
        Once again, I’m not saying we adopt these opinions in the West, but just that we should respect the fact that there does exist a large amount of daleel for prohibiting women from entering the masjid.

        I know many will object to what is written above; however, I am by no means saying that women should not learn about deen. One way to prevent fitnah from happening inside masaajid is to produce more female scholars and have halaqaat, lectures, etc. for exclusively for women.

        Also, a side note: I was born in Northern California and learned how to pray in the same masjid that Sh. Suhaib is currently the imam of. I’ve seen the harmful effects of gender intermixing under an “Islamic” pretext. I kid you not – people who met in the masjid at “Islamic” events have ended up committing zinaa with each other.

        May Allah (SWT) guide the whole ummah and save us all, ameen.

  12. RP says:


    JazakAllahu khair for elucidating this matter. This has unfortunately become a heated point of contention in our small community. We do not have a full time imam so we rotate through khateebs from amongst ourseves almost on a weekly basis and whenever staunch proponents of either view point take to the mimbar they make sure to express their “correct” view to start the cycle all over again.

    I’d appreciate it if someone could perhaps explain to me if this relatively new (I assume) concept of having a lecture in a local language followed by the formal khutbah as a set ritual every Friday would be considered an innovation or if its an accepted adaptation to a modern day problem? It seems to work at some masajid, but as mentioned by Abu Majeed I’ve noticed that many people skip the English lecture or talk/socialize through it and only come to listen to the Arabic khutbah which they probably cannot understand.

    • abu majeed says:

      Wa alaikum as-salam,

      As mentioned by the fiqh council in the world league in their fatwa, the difference is found in India (Deoband affiliates) and the Arabs are pretty much in agreement for the khutbah being mixed Arabic and local language. The brothers I know from Africa, Indonesia and Malaysia said that it is done similar to here in the states as mentioned in the article.

      It could NOT be an innovation because the majority of the world’s scholars and the councils representing them have decided that based upon points mention in the article. They see the mixed khutbah as the correct and balanced presentation of the khutbah accoridng to the objectives of it as well as the practicality and facilitation involved. Now if someone said that we want to make the Athan in English everyone will scream innovation for reasons mentioned in the article.

  13. Umer says:

    Brother Abu Majeed,

    “I assume you are from England. This reality is because Englands Imams are almost all based from one small city called Deoband, India and the scholarly opinions coming out of it regardless of those to whom it is applied.”

    This statement alone gives a strong indication that you really don’t know what your talking about regarding Deoband. First, The Darul Uloom in Deoband initiated the rise of sister-instutions throughout the indian subcontinent and throughout the world. So a deobandi affiliation doesn’t necessarily imply an affiliation with the city. Second, you’re treating deobandi thought as a monolithic entity which is just flat out wrong.

    “The problem is that when the Deobandis gain authority of a Mosque, they seek to change it; and if they founded the Mosque (rare) they don’t allow a visiting Khatib to do it in the prevalent way, and they try to convert other Mosques to their opinion. They do this on the premise that it is an opinion influenced by the West and even said to be an innovation. ”

    Third, did you do a field study to support this conclusion? I know for a fact you didn’t, since i can think of 2-3 big communities off the top of my head that contradict your baseless conclusion.

    • Akhi says:

      @ Br, Umer:

      I’m sure Imam Abu Majeed didn’t literally mean that that the Imams are literally based in Deoband the place. But he is right about the fact that Deobandis have a heavy influence in the UK. A lot of the sister institutions were founded by and are currently run by people that studied in Deoband. While the students of the people might not literally have studied in the city, for the most part, it can be assumed that to refer to someone being based in Deoband is to mean that they are Ideologically based in Deoband.

      With that said, no offense, but it’s no secret that Deobandis in general can’t help but take over any Masjid or MSA that they can get their hands on. For example, I know of a very well known Deobandi controlled Masjid, that was actually founded by people that were not Deobandi-influenced at all. Deobandis eventually took it over. In an MSA that I was a part of, Deobandis would boycott programs when they didn’t agree with the people running them. They would cause a huge ruckus when things didn’t go their way. In a local musallah, there was a volunteer muezzin that would be the first one to come for Fajr salah to give the Adhan and he was kicked out because he was clean shaven. In fact, as I speak, Deobandis are making efforts to control even more Masajid. Yes, I recognize that their may be a few cases that might be different, but for the most part, I have seen this common thread of action and it is disturbing. Anyways, you asked for a field study and if you care to look, you’ll find many examples of this behavior

  14. abu majeed says:

    As-Salamu alaikum brother Umer,

    I don’t know much about the Deoband except for my said interactions with them. Please don’t get defensive brother there is a tone of harshness in your critique.

    I have done a research through former affiliates and those still loyal to the Deobandi style and through the comments I have voiced what I know from at least 20 students of sacred knowledge many of whom completed the alim program with Dar al-Uloom and others who studied privately with “Mufti’s” of the Deoband.

    It is something that I would be amazed if you would deny, but yes the founding fathers of the Deobandi school and the current “elders” like Mufti Taqi Usmani are followed with maybe the strictest form of Taqleed and so thus as opposed to different Azhari scholars across the world and thier students you will not see much difference of opinion unless as Haq mentioned one reaches a level of knowledge and research that they differ individually- they still feel as Deoband affiliates- a strong pressure not to openly promote an opinion outside of the core tradition of Deoband for fear of shunning and rejection.

    I too know of at least three large communities that support my assertion including the one I recently was hired as Imam in. So we both have our proof. No need to accuse people of baseless assertions when you have just as much proof as I.

    May Allah join our hearts and give us comprehensive knoweldge of Islam combining its texts and the different scholarly interpratations. Let’s differ with respect.

  15. Umer says:


    The wording of the statement of brother Abu Majeed imply that that he believes all Deobandis to have a physical connection to the original Darul Uloom in the village of Deoband.

    Ideologically Deobandi doesn’t mean necessarily indicate some sort of connection with the school. Darul Uloom Deoband was established by some scholars who represented a certain strain of thought rooted in the Waliullahi tradition. Not all the scholars of this tradition took part in its establishment, but established other institutions like Mazahirul Uloom in Sahranpur, India. However, today all the scholars from this strain of thought from the Waliullahi tradition are considered Deobandi.

    As far as your personal experiences are concerned, i can’t believe you’re actually going to try to support making a generalization based on some limited experiences. It’s pretty funny because if we were to play this game, the most fitnah-mongering group in terms of taking over masjids and msa’s and establishing a rigid interpretation of Islam, would without a doubt have to be the salafis. This is something you hear from Muslims across not only America but the entire world, from the UK to India. So can very easily make a generalization about salafis. But even this generalization, though it is more accurate, is still rather simplistic. Lets try to move to a higher level of discussion.

    Abu Majeed

    I don’t mean to be harsh but your argument is surprisingly weak. You’re making these conclusory statements that historical facts and current realities contradict. You’re saying they advocate a strict form of taqlid thats particular to them. My question to you is, how is it more strict than any non-salafi, madhab-affiliated group? You’ll see a number of articles on, advocating strict forms of taqlid from scholars like Murabatil Haj and Shaykh Nuh, two non-Deobandi scholars.

    Also if the point you’re trying to hit home with your assertion that Deobandi’s advocate taqlid too strictly, is that this type of position leads to problems associated stare decisis in terms of shariah and public policy, then i suggest you do some better research. Muhammed Qasim Zaman of Princeton University considered Deobandi scholar Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi the true successor of Shah Waliullah in terms of fiqhi ijtihad.

    Also if you actually did a field survey of Muslim communities throughout the world where there are Deobandi ulama in positions of authority you would see a wide range of differences in terms of applications of fiqh based on particular circumstances. I know this to be the case from my interactions with different communities and ulama.

  16. AbdelRahman says:

    I’d have to agree with Abu Majeed – the Deobandi “mufti,” who gets their iftaa degree in 4 years, doesn’t really have an understanding of fiqh which is beyond the 12th century.

    Fiqh is meant to evolve, and in fact, that is what the mission statement of the original Deoband was. It was a radical, revolutionary institution that broke with the status quo and updated Islamic thought in the subcontinent. Nowadays, however, the closemindedness and extreme taqleed have stunted it from it’s original purpose, and have stunted it from developing progress in most fiqhi issues.

    If you have any questions on this, Shaykh AbdulNasir Jangda (graduate of Binoria town) would be the one to contact. Let me see if we can get him to comment on this discussion.

    • Furhan says:

      As salam u alaikum wa rahamatullah,

      Abdel Rahman, I strongly disagree with you. First of all I take offense to you putting the word mufti in quotation marks, as if you are questioning the qualifications of all graduates from a deobandi ifta course. The ifta course is not 4 yrs as you state, rather it as an additional period of study for 2-3 yrs after completing a rigorous 8 year course, which is known as Dars un Nithami (Nizami). As a matter of fact, the iftaa course where I study is an additional 3 yrs after the 8, and once completing the course you are not a mufti, but you have the capability of becoming one after years of practice and tahqeeq.
      You seem to suggest that they have a cursory understanding of fiqh. How can you say that when they study hanafi fiqh and usool for over six years ( Qudoori, kanz, Al-wiqaya, al-hidaya)? Sure there are problems with the institutions, just as every other institution throughout the world, but to discredit and belittle the scholarship of the deobandi muftis is unfair.
      On a side note Shaykh Abdul Nasir is a graduate of Jamia Binoria, which is different than Binori town. They are two separate institutes in Karachi.
      Why the accusations of closemindedness? Being a proponent of taqleed doesn’t automatically make one closedminded.
      I think there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding deoband, which if cleared up can create mutual understanding Inshallah.


  17. Umer says:

    Abel Rahman:

    Wow another ridiculous assertion. If the thought emanating from Deoband was so irrelevant to modern times why are there so many vibrant Muslim communities world-wide from Chicago, to the UK, to South Africa, to Bangladesh, in which Deobandi scholars hold leadership roles? Btw the 4 years of iftaa in Deobandi institutions can only be undertaken after completing the Dars -i-Nizaami curriculum which is about a 6-7 year program now. And it if you take a look at the real scholars these institutions are producing as opposed to the people who simply graduate and leave, its not uncommon to find people who have upwards of 20 years of study under their belt.

    Yes fiqh has the capacity to adapt with the changing times but Deoband, from its inception, has never been loose with the application of ijtihad. While strictly advocating taqlid to the masses as well as to “alim” and “mufti” grads, senior scholars would engage in ijtihad with their peers when necessary.

    In my experience the term closed-minded gets thrown around usually when people see that their own views being rejected.

    And again if we wanna get into immature generalizations and discussions about which group is the most rigid and irrelevant, then without a doubt the salafis would win the prize. But like i said before this is a simplistic understanding.

    I really can’t believe you people are trying to justify this type of generalization. Its pretty ridiculous

  18. Akhi says:


    >>>”In my experience the term closed-minded gets thrown around usually when people see that their own views being rejected. ”

    Well, that’s kind of the definition of being close-minded, isn’t it? If you’re going to reject other people’s views, not consider what they have to say, starting criticizing other groups while you’re at it, and then accuse everybody of “immature generalizations,” then of course you can expect to be called close-minded.

    Like Imam Abu Majeed said, there’s no need to accuse others of “baseless assertions” and immature generalizations when they have they just as much proof. I find your tone very rude.

    >>>”If the thought emanating from Deoband was so irrelevant to modern times why are there so many vibrant Muslim communities world-wide from Chicago, to the UK, to South Africa, to Bangladesh, in which Deobandi scholars hold leadership roles?”

    That could mean very little. If there’s large communities—the “masses,” if you will—of people coming from the subcontinent, that hold outdated, culture-influenced, and irrelevant views, than they’re naturally going to gravitate towards scholars whose views that might be outdated and irrelevant. Countless times, I’ve had people come to me with stuff like, “oh, you shouldn’t wear pant-shirt, it’s bad,” “english is a bad language,” “don’t listen to a khateeb wearing a suit, he’s too modern,” etc. And yes, it has been staunch Tableeghi/Deobandi people coming to me saying stuff like this. I’m not saying that all Deobandis might be like that, but I’ve seen a whole that are. Perhaps one too many.

    Also, I find it odd that you brought Salafis into this discussion. Perhaps, you’re under the impression that the people talking to you are Salafis. By the way, I , for one, am not what you would call a Salafi.

  19. AbdulSattar says:

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    This conversation is moving completely off of the topic.

    The discussion is not about Dar ul Ulum Deoband, which although many may disagree with in some points – is a recognized school and pattern of thought with its own heavy-hitter ‘ulama, muftis, and invaluable contributions to the Ummah that the Ummah would sorely miss had they not been there.

    The well-research article Br. Abu Majeed wrote, quotes text, not ideological generalizations.

    Let us stick to the article’s points and discuss those, rather than let Shaytaan get the best of us and get caught up in tangents.

    wa alaikum assalam
    Abdul Sattar

    • abu majeed says:

      As-Salmu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

      JAK dear brother Abdul Sattar

      I think we can be in agreement that in future discussions in disagreeing on Fiqh or Aqeedah issues we can refrain from naming bodies or affiliate organizations who hold such positions and just discuss the points according to the sound knowledge of Ahle Sunnah wal-Jama’ah. As I said previously, this artcile is not intended against any institution or ideaology, it is a specific research on an issue.

  20. Umer says:


    “Like Imam Abu Majeed said, there’s no need to accuse others of “baseless assertions” and immature generalizations when they have they just as much proof. ”

    I don’t think you understood my contention. I’m not taking issue with the subject matter of this article. I’m taking issues with the false comments the author has made about Deoband.

    “That could mean very little. If there’s large communities—the “masses,” if you will—of people coming from the subcontinent, that hold outdated, culture-influenced, and irrelevant views, than they’re naturally going to gravitate towards scholars whose views that might be outdated and irrelevant.”

    Ok so non-American views are outdated and irrelevant. Got it…

    Btw the desi communities in the UK and South Africa are more than 3-4 generations old. But i see your bias against desis has lead you to believe their experiences aren’t an authentic experience of western civilization. Another false assumption your argument is based on is that Deobandis only serve the desi community and are irrelevant to anyone else. Another false generalization you can’t substantiate with hard facts but at this point i don’t care to correct you.

    Your way of thinking is the only way that is relevant for Muslims in the west.

    • Akhi says:

      Nice try playing the victim card.

      It’s not about non-American vs. American views. Like I said before, when you have Deobandis come to you accusing anyone different from them as being modern and an innovator, you get tired of it. I’ve said this before—I’m surprised that you pretend to ignore these things and then proceed to attack the people that said them by accusing them of generalizations and biases. Btw, I have no bias against Desis, seeing as though I’m one myself.

      And I don’t know how you can comment on my way of thinking, especially when I haven’t expressed a way of thinking, or some kind of ideology. I have merely commented with what I’ve seen.

      Regardless, whether you would like to admit it or not, it’s a no secret that Desi values have a heavy influence on Deobandis in general. You keep on asking for facts, and then when you’re given some, you pretend to ignore them. Here’s some more:

      –In my local musallah, run by Tableeghis, in all of the visiting Jamaats, the amount non-Desis you see on average, is less than zero.
      –In the weekly city-wide Ijtema at a major markaz, less than 5% of the people are non-desi.
      –In this afore-mentioned markaz, talks almost always used to be in Urdu wholly. Only recently, did they add English translations.
      –The food they serve in this markaz: Always desi food. Every single time.
      –In the 3-day zonal Ijtema that takes place on a yearly basis, majority of lectures are in Urdu, instead of English.
      –Number of non-Desi graduates of Deobandi institutions: Very few.
      –Number of non-Desi instructors in a local Deobandi Islamic Institution: 0
      –Look through the list of Mashaaikh affiliated with any major Deobandi institution, even the ones based in the West, such as Darul Uloom Bury, you’ll discover that a majority of them are Desis.

      Am I saying that all the Deobandis worldwide are like that—no I’m not. And before you mention it, yes I’m aware that there are non-Desi Deobandis out there, however few they might be. Also, I’m not trying to say that Deobandis intentionally cater to Desis only. But obviously, because of their origins, and heavy influences Desi influences within them, non-Desis generally feel left out. And because of a strong built-in attachment to Desi culture, a lot of Deobandis out there don’t really do a good job making non-Desis feel welcome. Because of this attachment to culture, sometimes cultural values seep into theology and the line between culture and religion is blurred. That’s when you get Deobandis that’ll tell you that wearing a “pant-shirt” is bad and they’ll look down on Halaqas and talks done in English but are perfectly fine with Urdu, as if Urdu were some sacred language.

      Again, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that Deobandis have heavy Desi crowds; it’s got more to do with their origins than anything else. But the thing is, from my experiences, other organizations do a much better job being diverse.

      Before you throw around accusations of generalizations again, I’ll tell you that I say all this from the experiences I gained having spent time doing weekly external/internal Joula/Ghusht, going to Jamaats, and having visited Ijtemas on the regular. Also, I don’t understand why you accuse me of having a bias against Desis. I’m a desi myself, and not some kind of ABCD. I grew up in the culture, speak fluent Urdu, and yes, I’m saying what I say based on actual experiences with Deobandis, instead of basing my talk on hearsay experiences.

      Anyways, going back to the original article, like the Imam said and like how Br. Derrick affirmed below, Deobandis have a hard time walking into a Masjid or an intuition without wanting to gain control of it. They seem to have strong built-in beliefs about various things, which, they are not willing to change. Regarding the language of Khutbah, the opinion they follow is a minority opinion yet they seem unwilling to be on the same page as others. When they run into Masajids, centers, or MSA’s they’ll force their minority opinion on everyone else. And when you don’t listen, you are called a bad Muslim. And that’s when you have problems such as the one outlined by the article.


      • Umer says:

        “Nice try playing the victim card.”

        Huh? I’m pretty sure you just used that incorrectly.

        There’s a couple of things wrong with your analysis. Its pretty clear you’re basing your sweeping generalizations about Deoband on your interactions with Tablighi Jamaat. Very briefly, the problem with this analysis is that you’re generalizing an entire group based on your experiences with a sub-group within the larger group you’re generalizing. Its like saying all bears have white fur because all the polar bears you’ve seen were white. When i’m talking about Deobandis i’m specifically referring to graduates of that institution who maintain ties with their institutions and teachers.

        “–In my local musallah, run by Tableeghis, in all of the visiting Jamaats, the amount non-Desis you see on average, is less than zero.
        –In the weekly city-wide Ijtema at a major markaz, less than 5% of the people are non-desi.
        –In this afore-mentioned markaz, talks almost always used to be in Urdu wholly. Only recently, did they add English translations.
        –The food they serve in this markaz: Always desi food. Every single time.
        –In the 3-day zonal Ijtema that takes place on a yearly basis, majority of lectures are in Urdu, instead of English.”

        Have you ever thought about the fact that this might be the result of your locality as opposed to the movement itself? Here in the NY/NJ area, yes the majority of the population at tablighi events are desi but non-desis are not all that uncommon. The zonal ijtemahs over here not only do they have the talks in a number of languages in order to cater to the different populations amongst them but during their main talks they have concurrent translations. And the translations aren’t watered down. In fact i remember being amazed at the translator. The urdu speaker would talk for 20 min then the translator would translate the entire 20 min urdu portion pretty much word for word but in a coherent and eloquent manner. Also the gatherings over here in my estimates would probably consist of around 20%-30% of non-desis.

        So i know for a fact everything you’ve just listed does not represent tablighis nationwide and is limited to you’re locality, and thats only if you’re actually presenting them in accurately.

        “–Number of non-Desi graduates of Deobandi institutions: Very few.”

        Sounds like a reasonable assumption but i don’t think its as uncommon as you think and i know you’re not basing this on any sound and objective research. It’s no doubt an assumption based on your subjective reasoning.

        “–Number of non-Desi instructors in a local Deobandi Islamic Institution: 0″

        Oh ok so you do think making generalizations based on your experiences in your own locality is valid. Good to know.

        “But obviously, because of their origins, and heavy influences Desi influences within them, non-Desis generally feel left out. And because of a strong built-in attachment to Desi culture, a lot of Deobandis out there don’t really do a good job making non-Desis feel welcome. Because of this attachment to culture, sometimes cultural values seep into theology and the line between culture and religion is blurred.”

        This is pretty funny akhi, because you really have no idea what you’re talking about. The elders of Deoband have always separated within the context of the Indian subcontinent religion and culture, which is why even on the subcontinent other groups will call them wahabis, due to them highlighting whats cultural bida is and what isn’t.
        Deobandi thought was more influenced by the socio political climate as opposed to indigenous cultural influences. The fatawa referring to pants being disallowed and other things of that nature were a result of colonization and conceptions of darul harb and darul islam.

        As for your rant on urdu being some sort of sacred language, in Deobandi madrassahs in South Africa, UK, and the United States the lingua franca is English.

        It seems as though everyone whose defending making sweeping generalizations of Deobandis are basing their argument on experiences with the ineffective or even harmful segments of the movement. This is extremely disingenuous because no group is perfectly upon the Quran and Sunnah, especially one as expansive as the Deobandi movement. If you check out Darul Hikmah or the Institute of Islamic Education in Chicago, the gatherings of Shaykh Hussain Abdul Sattar, Tablighi Jamaat (outside of our locality) you’d find a completely different picture of what you’re talking about.

        This conversations has gone on way too long but it really is astounding how you people are so vehemently trying to justify making sweeping generalization.s

  21. Umer says:


    just so you understand my contention it was this comment which brother abu majeed made which i thought was a sweeping generalization which needed correction.

    “The problem is that when the Deobandis gain authority of a Mosque, they seek to change it; and if they founded the Mosque (rare) they don’t allow a visiting Khatib to do it in the prevalent way, and they try to convert other Mosques to their opinion. They do this on the premise that it is an opinion influenced by the West and even said to be an innovation. “

  22. Derrick Peat says:


    Regarding this quote:
    “The problem is that when the Deobandis gain authority of a Mosque, they seek to change it; and if they founded the Mosque (rare) they don’t allow a visiting Khatib to do it in the prevalent way, and they try to convert other Mosques to their opinion. They do this on the premise that it is an opinion influenced by the West and even said to be an innovation. “

    I have to say that, as an individual who’s been to several mosques throughout Florida, the problem mentioned in the quote is widespread. I don’t know, maybe it’s only Deoband graduates from Florida who I’ve noticed as being intolerant.

    This article needed to be written, though. And may Allah reward the author :-). Our Ummah has many issues to tackle right now, and we weaken ourselves when we bicker, i.e. belligerently rejecting viable opinions, regarding matters of fiqh.

    Also, I think every one needs to be reminded of the original intent of this article; it wasn’t to say that Mufti Taqi Usman was totally wrong, but it was meant to point out — analytically and systemically — that there is another opinion that has a great deal of proof behind it as well.

    • Umer says:

      also i’d appreciate it if you could show me where an effective Deobandi shaykh in the west like Mufti Abdur Rahman, Shaykh Sulaiman Moola, or others make it appoint to forbid people from wearing “pant-shirt”.

  23. adil says:

    As a non-scholar, I am unable to comprehend why the language of the khutbah is still an issue of open debate given that Islam spread to non-Arab lands centuries ago. Shouldn’t this have been settled by now? I feel exasperated and disappointed by this.

  24. Shams says:

    Assalam alaikum, What is meant by Arabic Khutba? Is it always same every Friday. i.e. the one read in Pakistani masjids (may be else where)? Please elaborate. Thanks. May Allah reward you for your efforts.

    • abu majeed says:

      Islam is the religion of all Prophets Not all scriptures were sent in Arabic. Please broaden your horizons brother. the verse was mentioned Soorah Ibrahim verse 4 “We never sent a messenger to a people except preaching to them in the tongue of his people”

      The final message of Islam was revealed and preserved in Arabic, but Islam is the religion of all languages and people.

  25. Tahmid says:

    Salam brother, I disagree with you when in the end you said Islam is not an arabic religion, i agree that it’s for everyone but the language of Islam is Arabic, Allah(Swt) says in the Holy Quran Surah Yusuf verse 2 “Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’ân in order that you may understand”.

  26. Abu Safiyyah says:

    Asalaamo alaikum everyone.

    I’m new to this website and was looking forward to reading any scholarly opinions on this familiar subject. Unfortunately, there have been excesses in speech/text amongst both sides in terms of adab/etiquette in this discussion that has put a bad taste to an otherwise interesting discussion. None us are better than Musa (AS) nor inshallah worst than Firawn/Pharoah but Musa (AS) was directed to speak to Firawn without harshness. I’d like to remind myself and others that regardless of who we personally think is right/wrong or who or what we follow, adab/respect and softness in addressing each other is something that should be a given across the board regardless of our disagreements….and I dont think there’s any scholarly difference of opinion about that :)

    Now to the subject at hand, I appreciate the length and detail the respected author offered on this subject but respectfully disagree with most of the points raised in the article regarding the language of the Friday khutbah because many of the points/objections raised have been addressed by authoritative scholars amongst the four main sunni schools of fiqh. Also, unfortunately many of us especially here in the US, are unfamiliar and/or have limited access to authoritative traditional Sunni scholarship from the four schools.

    I’m tempted to respond point by point by have found that more often then not, online discussions of this nature spiral out of control particularly when the folks don’t know each other in the “real” non-virtual world. In addition, sometimes written online text doesn’t relay the full context with the requisite nuances. I think within this thread, there’s examples of both here.

    I find that many of our fiqhi disagreements at the laymen and students of knowledge level (which I would consider all of us save for people of the caliber of Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah, Mufti Taqi, Shaykh Abdus Sattar Ghudda, Shaykh Abu Zahra (rah), etc) often stem from the positions we’ve taken on regarding the four established sunni schools and the issue of taqleed. We end up arguing details, daleels, support, etc of specific issues when the real disagreement is often much more upstream regarding approach, usool (principles), and ideology.

    My position is what I believe is the view of the majority of the validating sunni scholars of the four schools over much of our history…and that is that we should do taqleed to one of the four schools for the vast majority of us who do not reach the position of Mujtahid Mutlaq (Absolute Mujtahid) or Mujtahid fil Mathhab (Mujtahid in a particular school). For issues where the four schools differ on, each person doing taqleed of their school should feel confident and consider their position as correct to act upon while considering that there’s a possibility of it being incorrect despite the best of sincere scholarly human efforts/ijtihad. Ultimately, for issues where the four schools differ, we should not condemn other confirmed views amongst the 4 school in absolutist fashion. For a frame of reference for English speaking/writing scholars, I have found this similar understanding prevalent to those I find in the scholars and students of knowledge on the SunniPath website as well as Shaykh Nuh Keller, Mufti Muhammad bin Adam of the UK, etc.

    According to my understanding/learning, the only difference amongst the validating scholars amongst the four schools on the above point that I know of is amongst the majority of the Hanafis of the Indian Subcontinent (Deobandi and Braelwi). Most of the four schools, including the Hanafi school passed down by Ottoman legacy including those found in Syria/Jordan/Mid East, are more lenient in taking/borrowing positions from the other 3 schools as long as it is for sound reasons and doesn’t become a habit of just finding the most lenient position to act upon. The Hanafi scholars of the Indian subcontinent are generally more stringent or said another way, have a higher standard from deviating from core official positions of the school. As stated by one of my fellow classmates, the indian subcontinent Hanafis say “must follow…” whereas Mid-East Hanafi scholars say “should follow…” when it comes to following the ijtihad of their school.

    As a side note, I wish we could stay away from generalizing people, groups/movements, behaviour, labeling, etc and stick to citing scholarly sunni work and support when addressing fiqhi issues. Indian subcontinent Hanafis (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan) are generally split amongst Deobandi and Braelwi (that have their own unfortunate disagreements).

    Tablighi Jamaat emanated from Deobandi scholarly circles and most of the elders of this movement are of the Deobandi tradition, but at it’s core, it is a pan-Islamic movement that does not (or at least shouldn’t by the elders direction) engage in fiqhi matters and disagreements. One only needs exposure to this noble work done by non-Hanafis (let alone non-Deobandis) in areas such as North and West Africa, Europe (outside the UK), Malaysia, Mid East (non-ajami) etc to realize this. It is the largest muslim movement estimated 70-80 million global following in 150 countries (non-tablighi non-muslim sources), the longest running (approaching a century next decade), has gone through 3-4 peaceful Amir transitions and always by the passing of the former amir), annual ijtema attendance figures in Pakistan and Bangladesh rivaling Hajj figures, and arguably the most successful in terms of results. All bya simple dawah and simple syllabus. Like any other movement, there are sometimes unfortunate and inappropriate behaviors by some associated to this movement for various reasons and I would not be truthful if I said I agree with 100% everything that I see and hear from this group, but when you’re talking about what has become such a vast global movement, I feel it’s difficult to generalize them based on experiences with brothers/sisters here in the US or even the UK.

    Back to the subject….and so in this light, the subject of the language of the Friday khutbah, the official position of the Hanafi school is that the non-arabic khutbah fulfills the khutbah requirement, though it is deemed makruh/disliked. Even in Deobandi Hanafi books (Bahishti Zewar of Maulana Ashraf Ali Tahanawi no less), it is stated as such. However, I will say that us, even staunch Hanafis, should pick our disagreements more carefully in mixed masjid communities and not make a mountain out of a molehill (said with respect) as the issue is one of dislikedness/karaha and not one of hurma/forbiddance.

    Amongst english scholarly literature on this subject, I’ve only read Mufti Taqi’s well known booklet. Written for the laymen in mind, I thought it was well written, comprehensive, and even addresses many points raised here by the respected author. Sometimes when I was reading the author’s original write up, I found myself wondering if the brother had read Mufti Taqi’s booklet or not.

    Within this booklet, Mufti Taqi lays out the positions of the four schools and states that this (i.e. Friday khutbah should be in Arabic) isn’t just a Hanafi view but rather a view shared across the four schools.

    I have great respect for Mufti Taqi (and was very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend his class as a guest student when he was teaching Tirmidhi in Dar-ul-uloom Karachi years ago), but what I’m really interested in finding out from the knowledgable brothers/sisters here is if in fact the positions Mufti Taqi lays out as the views of the other three non-Hanafi schools four schoold are indeed the mu’atamid/mufta bihi (official) positions of those schools (again no disrespect to Mufti Taqi).

    I have a friend studying with the Hadrmawt Yemeni Shafi scholars (Shaykhs Habib Ali/Omar) confirming the Shafi position in Mufti Taqi’s booklet as correct but would like to hear from others versed in these 3 schools or from the those who have heard/read from scholars of the other 3 schools. My valuable set of the excellent yet concise work titled “Kitab ul fiqh alaa mathaahib ul arbaa'” (Book of Fiqh According to the Four Schools) By Sh. Abdur Rahman Al-jazeeri that was out on loan has now been confirmed as lost saddly.

    I request brothers/sisters to enrich me with responses what they’ve heard and read from the reliable scholars of the three (non-Hanafi) schools, including references if possible. If anything I’ve written you strongly disagree, please let me know which point so I can confirm or correct my position. If I’ve offended anyone, please forgive me.

    And Allah Knows Best.

    Abu Safiy

  27. Raashid says:

    Is it so difficult for us Muslims to study the meanings of the commonly repeated phrases in the Khutbaat, and use that as a basis to learn the language of the Qur’an.

    Personally, I believe Arabic was meant to be the language of every Muslim. Otherwise his recital of the Qur’an becomes meaningless (though not reward-less).

    • Michael Gatto says:

      >>Personally, I believe Arabic was meant to be the language of every Muslim.

      Then, he question you must answer is why did Allah not create us that way? Also, why did Allah not say this explicitly, then? This seems to be a fairly nationalistic idea, and not necessarily something I feel the Quran would reflect.

  28. Mohammed Khan says:

    Where does it say in the Quran or the Hadith that the Salat or the Adhan has to be in Arabic? :)

    So since people don’t understand the Quran in Arabic, let us start performing our Salat in English! I can’t wait to hear Shaykh Sudais busting out Surah Fatihah in English.

  29. Asif says:

    The solution is so simple so that all views are adhered to in all masaajid. I always thought the best way is to call the first adhaan, then give a BAYAAN (not khutba) in English. After the English bayaan, give some time for sunnah. Then after that, call the second adhaan and give the khutba in Arabic only. So the solution is simple, but the problem is most people show up late in time for the Arabic khutba and salah only.

    • Shafi al-Hanafi says:

      “So the solution is simple, but the problem is most people show up late in time for the Arabic khutba and salah only”

      …which is why this is no solution at all! This is, of course, the standard practice in most mosques with strong South-Asian undertones, and is the basis for the call for change.

      The trouble is, the communal focus and centrality of the Jumu`ah is actually due to the khutba, this weekly reminder and learning that is religiously written into an act of `ibadah, as Allah say: “so hurry to the remembrance of Allah!” (62:9)

      No other lecture or bayan holds religious obligation, and so people are perfectly within their rights to choose to omit that. Indeed, as Fridays are a working day for the vast majority of people in the West, attending a bayan (which, in the UK, depressingly enough is still in Urdu in most mosques) simply isn’t viable when one has to cram in jumu`ah and grab a bite to eat during lunch and get back to wherever.

      Hence, week in and week out, you see mosques filled to bursting point just in time for the khutbah, comprising for the large part of faces you won’t see again until the following jumu`ah, here because Allah has made it mandatory for them to listen to a sermon… And we blow such a massive opportunity by sermonising to a people in a language they don’t understand?

      The khutbah had a function. The secret’s in the name: “address”. Meant to be a religious mechanism ensuring the community’s continued learning and spiritual and moral upliftment, uncompromising adherence to a position the Hanafi madhhab was the most tolerant in has resulted in reducing the khutbah to a mere ritual, a ceremonial recital. By insisting the “address” can’t be in a language people understand, we’ve ensured week in and week out, people trail out of the Jumu`ah as ignorant and uninspired as they walked in.

      That, my friend, is the problem.

  30. Muslim says:

    I know that this response is late since I did not read this article until today, but there are some points mentioned in this article and others on this site that I believe are unfair.

    Firstly, using the term wahabi as another term for salafi. This term is not used by salafis themselves, but is used as a derogatory term in reference to salafis by those who oppose them. Also, the description of salafis as strict, literalists (implying narrow minded), and unaware of modern realities with regards to fiqh is inaccurate and clearly biased. Your way in referencing the salafi scholars gives the impression that you are saying “even those salafis agree on this, and they’re really out there!”

    This is clearly biased, for if you look at the rigidity and strictness of those who adhere to sufi tariqas, requiring absolute submission to the sheikh of the tariqa, or those who preach taqlid of madhabs and say that it is sinful to go outside your madhhab, then sidelining salafis as strict is unfair.

  31. Ashraf says:

    Assalamu Alaikum

    Reading Abu Majid’s piece, I felt a little confused, because as Mufti Taqi Usmani puts it eloquently, all the maddhab’s are united that it is not permitted. In fact, the Maliki maddhab states that if there is no one available to speak in Arabic, then the khutba is excused. But Abu Majid says that Mufti Taqi is wrong and that is not the majority view. Doing my own research, it is clear that the Maliki and Hanbali position is indeed as Mufti Taqi stated: that the khutba needs to be in Arabic; see here:

    The Shafi’i position has two positions within its school, as Maulana Taha Karan states here: The original jurists said that it needed to be in Arabic, but then as Muslims spread, modern Shafi’i jurists started permitting it. Mufti Taqi mentions one strand, though there is another view.

    And the Hanafi view is as Mufti Taqi put it as well: that it is better for it to be in Arabic, but the khutba is accepted if it is in another language–the most lenient view out of the four. I don’t think that Mufti Taqi can be wrong on the Hanafi position, being arguably the foremost expert of Hanafi law living today.

    So Mufti Taqi was right on all four counts. The only point he missed was that there is another position in the Shafi’i school that allows non-Arabic khutbas. Still, the majority is on the side that the khutba must be in Arabic. Wallahu A’lam

  32. Bava says:

    It is interesting to know that almost every bad muslim attends the Friday Qutba. One good inspiring Qutba can change a bad person. Trust me it happens :)

  33. Azeem says:

    I wonder how many kids we have lost due to them attending a masjid where they never understood a word being said.

  34. Michael Gatto says:

    I am distressed really, why do even have to ask that question? Are so mired in Middle Eastern nationalisms that we’ve lost all common sense? Do we really favor dogma and empty rituals over understanding. I mean, really…I get exhausted being a part of something where people lose common sense and act like crazy pagans who fetishize a ritual without no clue about the religion. Argh!

    • Chad says:

      The Khutba, as part of the Jumuah pray, has been considered by many to an act of worship, one that was specifically performed by our Prophet (SAW). It’s not surprising that scholars from the very beginning would be wary of changing it for that very reason. While I agree it seems only logical to want to address people in a language they understand, we should hold off on the insults. This issue goes back to some of the earliest fuqahaa, who weren’t out to spread an Arabist philosophy around the world, but rather to spread a better understand of our Faith.
      Whether right or wrong, we ask Allah to reward them for their efforts in His Path, and forgive their mistakes.

  35. R says:

    I just want to say I love this post – I have, without the same amount of research, have pushed and talked to many of my local imams and scholars about this very issue.

    I feel strongly that the Khutbah, whilst maintaining the pillars/quran/ahadith/salawat in Arabic, should otherwise contain a local language for the audience to take benefit.

    Far too often you find young members of the congregation sitting playing with phones and even lip-syncing the Khutbah, because they’ve heard it time and time again. They don’t understand a single word, so much so that when the Imam is making du’a, nobody says Amin!!?

    A few Arabs and those, like me, who have learned Arabic sound out our Amin and raise our hands in dua, are the small minority in a typical London, UK mosque.

    I have five mosques in my locality, most of them are Deobandi, all of them are Hanafi. Only one of them does a Khutbah in Bengali and English, where they begin with Arabic and end with Arabic. This is a great model, but sadly most of the other mosques don’t do this. Surprisingly, one mosque had an amazing Bengali Imam who spoke amazingly in Arabic and gave a resounding khutbah, but sadly only about three people in the whole congregation really understood the great advice being imparted. What a sad loss.

    In France, an Imam told me that the new generations of North African French kids are being lost, they are demanding the khutbah be in French – as these Arab kids do not understand the Arabic anymore! If this is happening to the Arab kids, then clearly generations of Asians in the UK are also slowly losing their mother tongues and their first language seems to be English.

    I do not advocate for the removal of Arabic or in any way paving the way for other Arabic to be replaced with local language, but as the author above writes, the Khutbah being in another language is not an open door for other areas of our deen to be derived of Arabic.

    Arabic is a sublime language and our deen is not an Arab deen, but it is for all mankind and the message has come for all

    The amazing thing about the jumu’ah is that you have young Muslim kids who usually do not pray or practice at all, still attending for those two rakat. They still come either out of pressure or as tradition/duty – whatever the reason, they are still coming. These kids do not buy CDs, watch lectures or attend great Islamic conferences. They won’t be able to name a scholar or a fiqh book or even know the meaning of Al-Fatiha. But they do come to this one moment, of about half an hour, every week and they listen. Why would we then waste this precious, beautiful moment and lose these young minds? If there was an opportunity for da’wah, then this is it.

    I believe there does need to be consensus on this and drive towards bringing our youth back to the deen and the Khutbah is the best place to start.

    Either that or we have a super drive to teach everyone Arabic.

    Thanks for you post, I think it is very much needed. May Allah accept your research and guide us to do what is right and good. Amin.

  36. Haroon says:

    JazakAllahu Khair

    A very well balanced article

  37. Irfan says:

    Also many people confuse what is said regarding the soundness of khutbah and the issue of language. Its true that usage of different language would not effect the soundness of khutbah in that the khutbah would be valid and not nullified. But this does NOT equate to permissibility of using other language. It does not equate to meaning that using an other language does not make the person a fasiq.

    • Usama says:


      Why do we find people do jummah khutbah in arabic and English in Hamilton newzealand why English what’s the proof we need proof from the life of the prophet and the three of best generations quran and Hadith pease give me proof and also put in your website and the same with khutbah of eid

      Because our Islam is based on the life of the prophet and the three best generations what they said united upon and none of them did it in any other language other then arabic even though some were master of 100 languages and whent to other countries and lived there
      please help on this

      Is an Muslim halal food organisation of newzealand and sheikh amair gave this fatawah please gave me and the company both the answer with the proof

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